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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

LETTER xxx A SEMI-SUBTERRANEAN STABLE             329

scribes. We were all benumbed with cold, and glad
that the crossing of an expanse of frozen streams rendered
walking a necessity. A nine hours' march through
mountains remarkable for rocky spires and needles
marvellously coloured, and for the absence of inhabitants,
took us to the Armenian village of Khanjarak, finely
situated in a corrie upon a torrent bank; but it is so
subterranean, and so built into the hillside, that a small
square church and conical piles of Jriziks are the only
obvious objects, and I rode over the roofs without know-
ing what was underneath.

All the women and children, rabbit-like, came
out of their holes, clothed in red rags, and some wore
strings of coins round their heads. The men were dressed
like Kurds, and were nearly as wild-looking. They pro-
tested against my tent being pitched. They said the
Kurds were always on the watch, and would hack it with
their swords in half an hour to get at its contents, that
'they had only three matchlock guns, and that the Kurds
were armed with rifles. I felt that I could scarcely
touch a lower depth in the matter of accommodation than
when they lodged me in a dark subterranean stable,
running very far back into the hill, with a fire of animal '
fuel in the middle giving off dense and acrid fumes. A
recess in this, with a mud bench, was curtained off for
me, and the rest of the space was occupied by my own
horses and baggage mules, and most of the village asses,
goats, cows, calves, and sheep. Several horses belonging
to travellers and to my own escort were also there, and all
the zaptiehs, servants, travellers, and Jcatvrffis were lodged
there. There were legions of fleas revelling in a tempera-
ture which rose to 80 at midnight, though there were 5
of frost outside. In the part of the roof which projected
from the hill there were two holes for light, but at night
these were carefully closed with corks of plaited straw.